Do you suffer from migraine headaches? They can be one of the most intensely painful experiences of your life, rivaling broken bones and surgery in the severity of the pain. Throw in the violent nausea and vomiting that frequently accompany them, the visual disturbances (also called halos,) and the extreme sensitivity to light and sound; and you have a seriously disabling condition to deal with.
In the throes of a severe migraine, it can be almost impossible to do anything other than lay in a dark, silent room, pray to die, and hope you don’t throw up. (If you’ve never had the experience of throwing up with a migraine, you really should sacrifice something valuable to whatever God (or gods) you worship. There are no words descriptive enough to explain the horrors of vomiting when your head feels like it’s going to explode to someone who hasn’t had that experience. Personally, I’d rather have surgery with no anesthetic, it’s got to be less painful.)
There are many prescriptions you can try to help manage migraines, and since stress can trigger them, stress reduction techniques can help reduce the frequency and severity. There are also many herbs that can help if you’d like to reduce the number of expensive medications you use, or if you haven’t found medications that are effective for you.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): The Harvard Medical School Health Letter states that, “Eating feverfew leaves has become a popular method for preventing migraine attacks in England. Some people for whom conventional treatments for migraine have not worked have turned to feverfew with good results.”
According to James Duke, author of “The Green Pharmacy,” feverfew helps about 2/3 of the migraine patients that use it consistently.
There are several ways that it can be used, including eating 2 to 4 fresh leaves a day; making tea with the fresh leaves; or the method that Dr. Duke recommends, taking the dried, ground herb in capsules. Capsules are recommended for several reasons. First, feverfew simply tastes bad. In addition, a small but significant percentage of people who eat the fresh leaves get mouth sores or inflammation.
NOTE: If you chose to use feverfew tea, do not boil the leaves. Add them to the hot water after you have removed it from the heat, since boiling can destroy the compounds that you need. Also, feverfew should not be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers. There is a slight chance that it could cause miscarriage, as well as the possibility that it could be passed to an infant through your milk.
Ginger (Zingiber officianale): Ginger is an excellent herb to use for many types of pain, and there are quite a few scientific studies showing that it is an effective treatment for both pain and nausea. It’s used in Asia as a migraine preventative, and both my husband and I have had good results with it. His migraines are infrequent, and we’ve discovered that if he takes 1.5 grams of dried ginger as soon as the migraine starts, it will stop it in its tracks. Normally, within about 30 minutes to an hour, he feels fine.
This doesn’t work for me, since I’m most likely to wake up with one, but repeated doses of ginger will at the very least, keep the pain manageable, and will eventually get rid of it. (If I’m nauseous, I’ll drink ginger tea rather than taking dried ginger, since that seems to help the nausea more.)
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): Purslane is very high in magnesium, and nutritionists recommend that those prone to migraine get 600 mg. of magnesium per day rather than the Daily Value of 400 mg. Magnesium deficiencies have been found in patients who suffer from frequent migraines or tension headaches, and is also common in fibromyalgia patients. Adding purslane to the diet can provide part of the additional magnesium needed.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Although eating or drinking things with peppermint in them can trigger migraines, or make the pain worse if you already have one; the essential oil can reduce the pain. A drop of peppermint essential oil in a bit of clear alcohol such as vodka or Everclear, rubbed on the temples, helps ease the pain and throbbing of a migraine.
I got an empty glass bottle with an eyedropper, and filled it with vodka, adding one drop each of peppermint, lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils per tablespoon of vodka. Whenever I have a headache, I shake it up and rub one drop of this blend on each temple. This works well for me to ease the throbbing while I wait for the ginger to take effect.
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- Feverfew and ginger gives relief to migraine patients (northshoreinstituteofhealing.wordpress.com)